New research from Rescuecom, a US computer repair franchise, has crowned Apple as the most reliable PC maker. This contradicts previous data from warranty provider SquareTrade, who sampled 30,000 systems and determined Asus had the least failures, HP had the most, and Apple ranked somewhere in-between. The two reports do find common ground, though.

SquareTrade concluded that netbooks failed more often than other notebook categories, and Rescuecom's study indicates that Asus lost its top spot due to its over-dependence on the mini laptops. "Now that many of the netbooks by Asus have been out for a while, there is obviously a higher need for service," said the repair outfit's CEO, David Millman.

Companies were rated based on the number of computers shipped versus the number of support requests Rescuecom received. The outfit considered both system construction quality as well as post-sales manufacturer support. Apple accounted for 9% of US PC shipments over the summer, but only made up 2.4% of calls, earning a reliability score of 374.

Apple scored twice as high as Asus, which came in at third place with 166 points. Rescuecom's data put Lenovo in second place with 320 points, and Toshiba ranked fourth with a score of 165. Once again, HP was found to be one of the least reliable, scoring 134 to take fifth place. HP reportedly shipped 24.9% of computers and represented 18.5% of support calls -- a lousy ratio.

While these studies should be looked at with a bit of skepticism, they do show a trend and raise some questions. For instance, why has HP ranked so poorly in multiple studies? I'm not sure these reports would influence my next PC purchase, but it may be something to keep in mind when selecting a warranty for your new system.